Zero HIV Stigma Day
ANAC champions Zero HIV Stigma Day to be held on July 21 as the first annual global awareness day specifically to challenge the impact of HIV related stigma, which persists despite biomedical advancements in HIV prevention and care.

It is a day to draw attention to and unite people, communities and countries to help raise awareness about HIV stigma and how to end it. This day is observed on the birthday of Prudence Mabele, the first Black South African woman to publicly share her HIV status. This year’s theme, “Human First”, emphasizes the human first dimension of people living with and affected by HIV. The theme also recognizes the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Discrimination against any person with or affected by HIV is a human right violation, and tying these two events together is powerful.

HIV stigma refers to irrational or negative attitudes, behaviors and judgments towards people living with or at risk of HIV. Unfortunately, HIV stigma still exists in healthcare settings and communities. We have a role in stopping it.
On this day, we celebrate ANAC member, Dr. William (Bill) Holzemer, PhD, RN, FAAN, who early on led research and academic inquiry into the impact of HIV stigma. He has dedicated his career to clinical care, nursing education and research to improve the quality of life for people and families living with HIV/AIDS, with an aim to eliminate health disparities for patients challenged by stigma, symptom management and medication adherence. He co-founded the International Nursing Network for HIV/AIDS Research and is a thought-leader for nurses and global HIV programs in identifying and understanding the impact of HIV related stigma. He was an early trailblazer. More than thirty years ago, Bill led a 5-year study examining the role stigma and discrimination plays on quality of life for PWH as well as for the nurses caring for them in Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland and Tanzania.

The establishment of Zero HIV Stigma Day is a collaborative effort between the Global HIV Collective and the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) Fast-Track Cities campaigns, who have provided more information and a toolkit for anti-stigma activities and messaging.

We join them in the message “We can only succeed in our efforts to end the global HIV pandemic if we end the gross violation of human rights that stigma represents for people with and affected by HIV.”